[ANALYSIS]: Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Why Workers’ Education? Why Trade Unions and What’s Next?”

Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Why Workers’ Education? Why trade unions and what’s next?,” South African Labour Bulletin, 40 (5): 46-48.



In these grim times, both globally and locally, it is important to reaffirm the centrality of workers’ education, and the need for a strong working-class movement. Ordinary people have immense potential to change the world, and steer it in a more progressive direction than that promised by capitalists, populists and the political establishment, writes Lucien van der Walt.

The working class  – people dependent on wages, and lacking control over their work, including workers, their families, and the unemployed, including blue-collar, white-collar and pink-collar workers – has been widely dismissed by a range of political traditions.This dismissal can be seen everywhere, from journalists who blame uneducated workers for the rise of demagogues like Donald Trump, to conservative and centre-right parties who insist that trade unions – not capitalism – cause unemployment, to radicals who proclaim the death of the unions, or dismiss organised workers as a bribed ‘labour aristocracy’.


But the working class has not gone  anywhere. By  1998, there were  more  industrial  workers  in South Korea alone, than in the entire  world  when  Karl  Marx and  Frederick  Engels  wrote  the Communist   Manifesto   (1848). Around  that  same  period, there were, American   labour  analyst Kim Moody notes, almost a billion people unemployed or underemployed worldwide, part of a massive proletariat thrown up over the previous 40 years, the very period when the working class was being dismissed as declining. By 2004, the working class was the biggest class in history, reaching three billion, by some estimates, with the world’s population, for the first time, predominantly urban.

At the same time, the single most important organised formations of the working class, the trade unions, have been under relentless assault. Some of the pressures have been external: casualisation and outsourcing, industry closures and downsizing and relocation elsewhere, a massive ideological barrage, including within the media and the universities. Other forces have been internal, and include: union bureaucratisation, the incorporation of union leaderships into political parties, and through these, into the state, and a complete lack of progressive political direction and vision in many cases.

This is the context where the radical right, populists, demagogues and religious fundamentalists have surged forward, massively, poisoning public debate with racism, xenophobia and other bigotries, and where empty, failed or reactionary solutions havebeen on display.


Yet  despite  this, the  working  class and the unions  – including new   unions, independent   unions and  innovative  types  of  unions – have remained key agents of progressive change. Recent examples include the July 2016 general strike in Zimbabwe, the massive battles on the mines, farms and campuses of South Africa, the huge strikes that were at the core the Egyptian Spring. The growing rumbles of China’s vast proletariat are already felt globally.And, as a recent collection by Manny Ness has shown, radical forms of unionism, drawing on left traditions like anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary syndicalism, and often centred in the postcolonial countries (the so-called ‘global south’) have been central to working-class  insurgency. Although some leaders have betrayed


p. 47

workers, unions as a whole have not been co-opted, for the simple reason that, to survive, they must represent working-class aspirations and these aspirations cannot be met, or bought-off, under capitalism and the state. It has been through titanic struggles and heroic efforts that working-class people have fought against a social order based on injustice and inequity, on exploitation and oppression, and on burning national and social questions.The right to life and dignity has never been conceded from above, through the largesse or the wisdom of the rich and powerful: it has been won from below.‘What is important is not that governments have decided to concede certain rights to the people,’ wrote Rudolph Rocker in his 1938 book Anarcho-syndicalism, ‘but the reason why they had to do this’. The reason, he showed, lay in popular struggle and direct action.


To build a better world requires building a stronger working class and building and renewing the unions. It means understanding the centrality of the working class (broadly understood – and not confined to factory workers in boots), and the centrality of the unions. Every gain that has been made, has been through struggle and courage and love.

It is the working class that can provide, through its power, its numbers, its social role, and the justness of its struggle, the central force to end the injustice and inequity, the exploitation and oppression, and answer the national and social questions with justice and equality and solidarity.

The working class, even where small, even where a minority, even where embattled, wields enormous structural power through its ability to organise workers, and the ability to withhold labour power from capital and the state. Historically and currently, unions have played and play a key role in championing many struggles against oppression. The workers’ movement has never been one simply about higher wages – although, of course, it is essential for such movements that workers get higher wages. The organised working class – in particular the unions –has fought against colonialism, racism, state repression and capitalist domination.


Real transformation in society is needed to uproot exploitation, domination and oppression.This is not the same as changing the composition of elites. It requires a deep structural change – a radical redistribution of power and wealth to the popular classes.And this can only be brought about by powerful, democratic, mass movements, armed with ideas, vision and that have accumulated power and resources and experience over time.

Real freedom requires, in the final analysis, a new society, based on freedom and equality, on democracy – real democracy – where we live and work, not just through voting every five years.  A universal human community, based on meeting needs, on ending inequality  and  oppression, based on self-management and freedom. Such a society can only be brought about by a class struggle: only the working class and peasantry have the numbers, power and class interest for its creation.This means that only class struggle provides the means to fight all forms of oppression in a way that truly emancipates ordinary people, rather than simply changing the colour, gender and nationality of politicians and capitalists.


Seen this way, workers’ education education for the workers’ movement – assumes a new significance. It is not about vocational training, but about building the power and progress and potential of the broad working class, and the union movement, as a force for progressive change, as an ally and a spearhead of the oppressed, as a voice for the popular classes.

Of course, the working-class movement includes many views and different perspectives. But what needs to be understood by all is that union struggles, and workers’ struggles, and movements cannot  be neatly divided from political



and social struggles, and should not be turned into narrow demands, or degenerate into top-down bureaucratic unionism.

Worker educators share a commitment to the working class: to worker organising, to unionisation, to resistance and struggle.A commitment to a better world, based on a radical democratisation of society, of freedom, social justice, and economic and social equality. A faith in the belief in the role of ordinary people in changing the world.

Central to this project is education and changing ideas. Building capacities for working class-driven transformation can take many forms. But at the end of the day, change and transformation starts with the individual. Self- transformation and development  is essential. This means educating ourselves, through ideas and struggles and organising.


Effective  working-class  movements need   effective,  democratic structures. But  these  also  require open  debate  and  political pluralism. Different views need to be expressed and debated, and positions taken as a result of evidence-based discussions, and comradely debate, rather than labelling, silencing and closure. This means we need to be open to different views, and open to changing our minds and develop a capacity for critical thinking and engagement, rather than the ability to mouth slogans.

It is important in education to debate different views, develop our understanding of how the system of capitalism, the state and imperialism works and to have evidence-based reasoned evaluation of different theoretical perspectives. This means developing critical thinking, rather than narrow ideological training. Different ideologies need to be debated and weighed up. It means not only to accumulate knowledge but also the ability to manage knowledge, evaluate arguments and engage in big ideas, or theory.

It means changing our attitudes and our relations with one another. Change starts with individuals.That means a need to fight for equality, not just in theory, but changing how we treat each other and fight to ensure that society treats all members equally. Understanding how we act and organise now, must mirror the future, and the better society we want.This means that we need to fight oppression and discrimination within our movements, such as prejudices against women, and racism.

It is precisely here that many unions fail. Debates are closed down. Education assumes a low priority and often skirts the big issues. It is rarely adequately funded in unions, and limps along. Employers try and capture the space of workers’ education with vocational programmes. Union leaders are often not made of  hard metal, that can withstand temptation, but of lead – soft under pressure, and slow and heavy.


The working class cannot be united unless it fights against its internal divisions and barriers. It cannot be successful, unless it mobilises to fight against all forms of oppression in society, and that includes fighting for national liberation, racial equality and women’s freedom.

People are not the prisoners of the past.We can change our attitudes and views.The spaces for these changes include union movements, working-class movements, and labour education. These spaces make change possible, but they need to be contested, remade and changed, in order to meet their true potential.

We need to share experiences, learn from each other and from best practices.This also means internationalism: learning from and about different contexts and models. In this way we share. But we also start to understand what we have in common, as working- class people, across regions, continents, colours, languages and borders.

We need to rise above divisions, network and build alliances, create spaces and forums and institutions for debate and education, empower our minds and movements.The reality is that workers who are so-called ‘foreigners’ have more in common with ‘national’ workers, than any capitalist from our own countries. Donald Trump may rail against immigrants, as may King Goodwill Zwelithini, but what has either ever done for ‘their’ own workers?


Class-based organisation provides a powerful lever to change the world, unite the people, the popular classes, to resist the ruling 1%, to fight against all forms of oppression, and to change the world. Not just one country. The world. Our world.We need a radical imagination, staying power and a deep, abiding faith in the mass of the people.

To fight and win, and, in the words of a great revolutionary, Nestor Makhno, to win, but not ‘in order to repeat the errors of the past years, the error of putting our fate into the hands of new masters; we will conquer in order to take our destinies into our own hands, to conduct our lives in accordance with our own will and our own conception’.

Lucien van der Walt teaches at Rhodes University, Makana, South Africa, and has long been involved in workers’ education. This article is based on a presentation at the 10th anniversary of the Global Labour University (GLU), at the University of the Witwatersrand in May 2016.


Arshinov, P. ([1923] 1987). History of the Makhnovist Movement 1918-1921. London, Freedom Press.

Moody, K. (1997). Workers in a Lean World: unions in the international economy. London, New York, Verso.

Rocker, R. ([1938] 1989). Anarcho-syndicalism. London, Pluto Press.


[Briefing for UPM]: Lucien van der Walt, “One Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders: Attacks Hurt Working Class and Poor, Only Capitalists and Politicians Benefit”

Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “One Year After the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders: Attacks Hurt Working Class and Poor, Only Capitalists and Politicians Benefit, Anarkismo, 15 December.

Text commissioned by Unemployed People’s Movement, Grahamstown, October 2015. Edited version, November 2016, published December 2016.

A year ago, starting 20 October 2015, around 75 small shops were looted, some burned down, in the eastern townships and downtown area of the small Eastern Cape university town of Grahamstown/ iRhini, South Africa. The attacks targeted Asian and African immigrants, many of them Muslim, and displaced 500 people. These riots were largely ignored by the media.

The text below is a slightly revised revision of a briefing I was asked to write at the time for the local Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The UPM played a heroic role in opposing the attacks and assisting the displaced. The text’s general points remain relevant to the working class’s fight against prejudice and racism. And the riots of 2015 should not be forgotten.grahamstown-riots


The heroic struggles for justice being waged today by workers, students and neighbourhoods across the country show the possibility of a better future, based on justice and freedom.

But casting a deep shadow over these struggles, and helping block a better future, are terrible, ongoing incidents like anti-immigrant / anti-foreigner attacks. They show how far we have to go, before we can free ourselves from the darkness of oppression.

The 2015 riots in Grahamstown were directed against foreign nationals, accused in hateful rumours of murdering local people to steal their body parts for ritual purposes. From such sparks sprang the wildfires of violence and terror. Within days over 500 people were displaced or in hiding.

So what is the solution? A fire needs fuel to burn; without fuel, sparks sputter away, die out. So what was the fuel that the sparks ignited? To fix a problem, we must know its cause.


Anti-immigrant views and violence are common in South Africa.

The most common explanation is provided by the media. And it is wrong. This explanation describes anti-immigrant ideas and attacks as “xenophobia.” Read More »

[WORKSHOP]: With comrades at the 2016 ‘Vuyisile Mini’ Winter School, Eastern Cape

With comrades on the 16 July 2016, last day of the Vuyisile Mini Winter School on “Labour and Social Policy,” organised by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit, and the Institute for Social and Eocnomic Research, at Rhodes University,  Grahamstown.


[PHOTO]: With comrades at the NUMSA-Wits graduates colloquium

With comrades at the 8 October 2016 colloquium of graduates from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Afeica (NUMSA)-University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) “Social Theory and Research” programme. This ran from 2010-2015, and will be followed by similar initiatives in 2017.


[WORKSHOP]: With Oupa Lehulere at Global Labour University school – plenary on “Racial Capitalism” & “Workers’ Movements” in South Africa

With Oupa Lehulere on plenary on “Racial Capitalism” & “Workers’ Movements” in South Africa. At Global Labour University’s almuni Summer School for unionists, 2 October 2016, Bronkhorstspruit.









[WORKSHOP]: July 2016 Vuyisile Mini Winter School in Makhanda/ Grahamstown

I participated as a facilitator on worker education at the July 2016 Vuyisile Mini Winter School in Grahamstown/ Makhanda. The School’s theme was “Labour and Social Policy,” and it was organised by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU), Rhodes University.  There is a photo of some of us here.



[SPEECH]: Lucien van der Walt, 2006, “Xenophobia, Solidarity and the Struggle for Zimbabwe”

I gave this talk at the”Freedom in our Lifetime” resistance festival in Newtown, Johannesburg, 10 December, 2006

It was previously published online, uncredited, at http://www.anarkismo.net/article/4424

Xenophobia, Solidarity and the Struggle for Zimbabwe

Lucien van der Walt, 2006.

How to fight for freedom in Zimbabwe? How to avoid another Mugabe coming into power? How to fight poverty, inequality, unemployment? How to create equality and decent lives for all? These are the burning questions we must face.

There are two main issues we have been asked to talk about today: xenophobia and solidarity. Let’s look at each of these, and then explore them, and look for answers to the burning questions.


Around the world, millions of people are moving between countries. Some move to find jobs and a better life. Some flee repressive, murderous regimes. And some just want to see more of the world: nothing wrong with that.

What is a problem is that the States, the governments, of the host countries, seek to divide the immigrants from the local working class and peasants. Let me be more precise. Rich immigrants are left alone. Their money brings them access to the charmed circles of the wealthy and powerful elites. The ruling class of one country recognises its fellows from other countries.

The elite knows the elite, and they know that they have something in common: their wealth, their power, are based on keeping the mass of the people – the working class, the peasants and the poor – in their “place.” And what place is that? Working for masters, earning low incomes, being told what to do: suffering through domination and exploitation from above.
Read More »

[TRANSLATION]: Lucien van der Walt, “Κολλεκτίβες στην Επαναστατική Ισπανία”

Greek translation of http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/spain/coll_l.html

Κολλεκτίβες στην Επαναστατική Ισπανία

Sunday July 24, 2016 at Anarkismo
Το κράτος δεν παρέχει μία εναλλακτική οδό στον καπιταλισμό ούτε ο καπιταλισμός στο κράτος. Και οι δύο αυτές δομές κοινωνικής οργάνωσης συνδέονται εσωτερικά και αλληλοσυμπληρώνονται. Δεδομένου του γεγονότος ότι καμία από τις δύο δομές δεν είναι επιθυμητή αναδύεται η ερώτηση: υπάρχει ένας τρίτος δρόμος; Η συζήτηση που προηγήθηκε για τον αναρχο-συνδικαλιστικό-ακρατικό σοσιαλισμό – προσπάθησε να δείξει τη διανοητική συνοχή, την πιθανότητα, και την επιθυμία του ως εναλλακτικής διεξόδου. Το θέμα επομένως που αντιμετωπίζουν οι σοσιαλιστές δεν είναι: “εάν ήρθε το τέλος της ιστορίας” Η πρόκληση μάλλον είναι να ανακαλύψουμε ξανά και να μάθουμε από ένα σημαντικό κομμάτι της ιστορίας, την πλούσια και ιστορικά καταξιωμένη παράδοση του αναρχοσυνδικαλισμού.


Η ισπανική επανάσταση ξεκίνησε ως επακόλουθο ενός αποτυχημένου ισπανικού πραξικοπήματος

Read More »

[TRANSLATION]: Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Πώς ο ιμπεριαλισμός και η μετααποικιακή άρχουσα τάξη καταλήστευσαν την Αφρική: Η ταξική πάλη και η αναρχοκομμουνιστική λύση”

Πώς ο ιμπεριαλισμός και η μετααποικιακή άρχουσα τάξη καταλήστευσαν την Αφρική: Η ταξική πάλη και η αναρχοκομμουνιστική λύση

From the Greek anarchist street paper Apatris, number 34, 2016 here

*This is a translation of Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “How Imperialism and Postcolonial Elites have Plundered Africa: And the Class Struggle, Anarchist-Communist Solution,” Tokologo, numbers 5/6, pp. 17-19, which is here

Citation: Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Πώς ο ιμπεριαλισμός και η μετααποικιακή άρχουσα τάξη καταλήστευσαν την Αφρική: Η ταξική πάλη και η αναρχοκομμουνιστική λύση,”Apatris, number 34, http://apatris.info/pos-o-iberialiounistiki-lysi/

Κείμενο της Αφροαναρχικής κολεκτίβας του Tokologo (Ν. Αφρική)

Πριν από περίπου πενήντα χρόνια είδαμε την αποξήλωση των περισσοτέρων ευρωπαϊκών αποικιακών αυτοκρατοριών στην Αφρική. Τα «νέα έθνη» που ξεπήδησαν γέννησαν υψηλές ελπίδες – και βέβαια η αλλαγή από την αποικιακή κυριαρχία με το ρατσισμό της, τον εξωτερικό έλεγχο και τις εξορυκτικές οικονομίες υπήρξε ένα βήμα προοδευτικό.

Απογοητεύσεις της Ανεξαρτησίας

Παρόλα αυτά, οι ελπίδες αυτές εξαφανίστηκαν σύντομα. Από πολιτική σκοπιά, τα περισσότερα ανεξάρτητα Αφρικανικά κράτη κινήθηκαν προς τον σχηματισμό δικτατορικών και μονοκομματικών καθεστώτων, συνήθως διοικούμενων από το εθνικιστικό κόμμα, που είχε πάρει την εξουσία τη στιγμή της ανεξαρτησίας – με την πάροδο του χρόνου, ο στρατός έγινε επίσης σημαντικός παράγοντας. Πολλά από αυτά τα καθεστώτα ήταν εξαιρετικά διεφθαρμένα, ακόμη και ληστρικά, και έτσι το χάσμα μεταξύ της ανερχόμενης τοπικής (ιθαγενούς) κυρίαρχης τάξης και των μαζών διευρύνθηκε ακόμα περισσότερο.

Αυτά τα χάσματα δε δημιουργήθηκαν κατά την αποικιακή περίοδο, καθώς πολλές αφρικανικές κοινωνίες ήταν ήδη

Read More »

[TRANSLATION]: Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό – Με την εργατική τάξη”

Ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό – Με την εργατική τάξηTrans. of [Statement, 2015] Lucien van der Walt, “With the Working Class, Against Imperialism and Terror Attacks,” which can be found here and here.

Με την εργατική τάξη, ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό και τις τρομοκρατικές επιθέσεις

Η πολιτική θα πρέπει να προσεγγιστεί με έναν απλό κανόνα: αποτελεί μια δράση που βοηθά ή βλάπτει τον αγώνα της εργατικής τάξης και των φτωχών για την πλήρη ελευθερία;

Οι στρατηγικές επιλογές καθορίζονται από το ηθικό ή την ηθική. Πιο συγκεκριμένα: μια ηθική με επίκεντρο τον αντι-αυταρχισμό, την αντίθεση στην κυριαρχία, τον αντι-καπιταλισμό, τον αντι-κρατισμό, καθορίζει ποια στρατηγική είναι αποδεκτή. Δεν είναι τα μέσα που δικαιολογούν τους σκοπούς, αλλά οι σκοποι που θέλουμε και που διαμορφώνουν τα μέσα.

Πώς αυτό ισχύει για θέματα όπως ο Δυτικός ιμπεριαλισμός, καθώς και ζητήματα όπως οι πρόσφατες επιθέσεις του ISIS στο Kobane (Rojava), την Βηρυτό (στο Λίβανος) και το Παρίσι (στη Γαλλία); Προφανώς, το να πολεμάς για την ελευθερία της εργατικής τάξης πρέπει να σημαίνει ότι τάσσεσαι και ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό. Αυτό είναι ουσιαστικής σημασίας σ’ αυτόν τον αγώνα.

Δεν έχει σημασία αν ο ιμπεριαλισμός δικαιολογείται ότι προωθεί τη “δημοκρατία” ή την ”ελευθερία”. Έτσι, πρέπει ολοκληρωτικά και άνευ όρων, να αντιταχθούμε στις αντιδραστικές, Δυτικές ιμπεριαλιστικές δράσεις στη “Μέση” Ανατολή. Ο ιμπεριαλισμός είναι ένα μεγάλο κακό, ανεξάρτητα από το αν είναι Δυτικός ή Ανατολικός, αν εξασκείται από μια μεγάλη ή μια μικρή δύναμη. Αλλά αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι κάθε αντιιμπεριαλιστικό κίνημα είναι άξιο υποστήριξης, δικαιολογώντας σπασμωδικλά τη λογική “ο εχθρός του εχθρού μου είναι φίλος μου”.

Το ISIS είναι πραγματικά μια αντι-ιμπεριαλιστική δύναμη (αφήνοντας κατά μέρος αβάσιμες θεωρίες συνωμοσίας), αλλά οι πράξεις και το πρόγραμμά του είναι εντελώς αντιδραστικά, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των επιθέσεων στην Rojava εναντίον του Κουρδικού Εργατικού Κόμματος (ΡΚΚ), στη Βηρυτό και στο Παρίσι εναντίον αμάχων. Οι κύριοι στόχοι του είναι, στην πραγματικότητα, άλλοι λαοί στη «Μέση» Ανατολή, κοσμικοί, Μουσουλμάνοι, Χριστιανοί και άλλοι.

Η υποκρισία των Δυτικών Μέσων Ενημέρωσης, τα εγκλήματα του Δυτικού ιμπεριαλισμού και οι διακρίσεις κατά των μεταναστών και των «ξένων», δεν δικαιολογούν την υποστήριξη εκ μέρους της Αριστεράς, ούτε του αντιδραστικού, Δυτικού ιμπεριαλισμού ούτε των αντιδραστικών αντι-ιμπεριαλιστών, ούτε ακόμα την επίδειξη κάποιας συμπάθειας για καμιά ομάδα αντιδραστικών, δυτικών ή ανατολικών. Είναι μια κόλαση με δύο πλευρές. Και οι δύο πλευρές είναι εχθροί μας.

Ο κόσμος δεν αποτελείται μόνο από δύο στρατόπεδα, τις ιμπεριαλιστικές και τις επαναστατικές ελίτ του ”Τρίτου Κόσμου”, υπάρχει και μια τρίτη πλευρά, η εργατική τάξη και η Αριστερά, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και των αναρχικών, και αυτή είναι η δική μας πλευρά.

Η εργατική τάξη και η Αριστερά θα πρέπει να καθοδηγήσουν τους αντι-ιμπεριαλιστικούς αγώνες και να συνεργαστούν με τα προοδευτικά κινήματα, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των προοδευτικών αντι-ιμπεριαλιστών, για να φτιάξουν έναν καλύτερο κόσμο, ωθώντας αυτούς τους αγώνες προς τον αναρχικό κομμουνισμό.

Κινήματα όπως το ΡΚΚ, δείχνουν ένα σημαντικό τρόπο αγώνα για την εθνική απελευθέρωση και για ένα ριζοσπαστικό, συμμετοχικό, δημοκρατικό και προοδευτικό πρόγραμμα.

Έτσι, ας προσεγγίσουμε το όλο ζήτημα από την πλευρά της εργατικής τάξης και των φτωχών, και αυτό σημαίνει ότι τασσόμαστε ενάντια σε κάθε καταπίεση και εκμετάλλευση. Από αυτήν την πλευρά, τασσόμενοι ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό άνευ όρων, συμπεριλαμβανομένου οτιδήποτε εξοργίζει το γαλλικό Κράτος, είναι τώρα κάτι το δικαιολογημένο. Αλλά επίσης, τασσόμενοι ενάντια στους αντιδραστικούς αντι-ιμπεριαλιστές με τα αντιδραστικά προγράμματα, και για έναν προοδευτικό αντι-ιμπεριαλισμό, όπως αυτόν του ΡΚΚ στο Rojava. Το ίδιο το ΡΚΚ που έχει επίσης υποστεί επιθέσεις από ISIS.

Σε κάθε χώρα, υπάρχει ένας αγώνας μεταξύ της αντίδρασης και της προόδου, και η δική μας πλευρά είναι με την πρόοδο. Δεν θα πρέπει να παρασυρθούμε από τις εξάρσεις και τις υφέσεις των αγώνων των εχθρών μας, αλλά πρέπει να χαράξουμε τη δική μας πορεία

*Σχετικός σύνδεσμος http://anarkismo.net/article/28725

**Ελληνική μετάφραση: “Ούτε Θεός-Ούτε Αφέντης”

[ANALYSIS]: Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Imperial Wars, Imperialism and the Losers: A Critique of Certain ‘Labour Aristocracy’ Theories” (Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism)

Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Imperial Wars, Imperialism and the Losers: A Critique of Certain ‘Labour Aristocracy’ Theories,” Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism, number 14, pp. 26-28.

Also here

pdflogosmallGet the PDF here. Text below.


As the 100th anniversary of the outbreak in August 1914 of World War One fades, let us remember that imperialism harms all working class people – including those in imperialist and Western countries, and the white working class.

It is often said that Western workers benefit from imperialism, or imperialist profits, or that welfare in the West is funded by imperialism – but all of these claims fall in the face of realities like World War One (1914-1918). This war – between Germany and Britain and their respective allies – was, at least in part, fought for a re-division of the European-ruled colonies.

Not Their Causes
The fighting, of course, was largely done by the working class – against the working class. Those who insist that Western workers benefit from imperialism should remember the 37 million who died: the 10 million-plus soldiers, 7 million civilians, and 23 million wounded were heavily drawn from the Western working class; the others were drafted in from colonies like Senegal, South Africa and India. This followed a string of wars, including in Southern Africa, from the late 1800s, like the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, and the Anglo-Boer War (or South African War) of 1899-1902.

It was ordinary people who formed the armies and the victims in all these conflicts; they fought in wars they did not create, driven by mighty empires that ruling classes controlled. The conquered peoples, like the Zulu and Afrikaners, fought for national independence and lost. Their ruling elites, however, made peace with the empires:Read More »

[TRANSLATION]: Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Αυτοκρατορικοί πόλεμοι – ιμπεριαλισμός”

Αυτοκρατορικοί πόλεμοι – ιμπεριαλισμός – Μια κριτική στις συγκεκριμένες θεωρίες περί

Trans. of Lucien van der Walt, 2015, “Imperial Wars, Imperialism and the Losers: A Critique of Certain ‘Labour Aristocracy’ Theories,” Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism, number 14, pp. 26-28, which is here.

Ο ιμπεριαλισμός, όπως εκφράζεται είτε από τις μεγάλες Δυτικές δυνάμεις είτε από ανερχόμενες δυνάμεις όπως η Κίνα ή η Ρωσία, είτε, ακόμα και από μικρές περιφερειακές δυνάμεις, όπως η Νότια Αφρική, δεν ωφελεί την πλειοψηφία των λαών τους. Επίσης, προφανώς, δεν είναι προς όφελος των συμφερόντων των απλών ανθρώπων που υπόκεινται στον ιμπεριαλισμό – αν και οι τοπικές άρχουσες τάξεις βρίσκουν συχνά τρόπους για να φιλοξενήσουν το σύστημα.

Αυτό σημαίνει ότι ο αγώνας ενάντια στον ιμπεριαλισμό δεν είναι μια μάχη μεταξύ ενωμένων εθνών ή περιφερειών, όπως ο «Βορράς» ή ο «Νότος», αλλά ένας αγώνας που πρέπει να καθοδηγείται από τις λαϊκές τάξεις, σε όλο τον κόσμο, κατά των αρχουσών ελίτ, σε όλο τον κόσμο.Read More »

[TRANSLATION] Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Bill Andrews ed i Sindacalisti Rivoluzionari in Sud Africa”

Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Bill Andrews ed i Sindacalisti Rivoluzionari in Sud Africa”
From: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/29211#comment16268

Trans. of Lucien van der Walt, 2016, “Bill Andrews and South Africa’s Revolutionary Syndicalists,” Tokologo: Newsletter del Tokologo African Anarchist Collective, numbers 5/6, p. 24

Oggi, W. H. “Bill” Andrews (1870- 1950) viene solitamente ricordato come fondatore e dirigente del Partito Comunista del Sud Africa (PCSA, oggi SACP). In quel ruolo egli fu segretario del partito, membro dell’Esecutivo dell’Internazionale Comunista, dirigente sindacale sudafricano, visitò l’Unione Sovietica, imputato nel processo ai comunisti che seguì allo sciopero dei minatori neri nel 1946.

Tuttavia, agli inizi, Andrews era stato una figura dirigente nella Lega Socialista Internazionale (ISL) di ispirazione sindacalista rivoluzionaria. Nato nel Regno Unito, Andrews era un metalmeccanico qualificato e proveniva dagli ambienti sindacali. Dopo una breve esperienza parlamentare per il Partito Laburista sudafricano, Andrews aderì insieme ad altri radicali alla ISL rifondata nel 1915.

Nella letteratura del Partito Comunista sudafricano, l’ISL appare di solito come una sorta di esperienza propedeutica al partito, composta da solidi marxisti. In realtà la ISL faceva parte- al pari di molte altre esperienze di sinistra radicale in tutto il mondo- della grande tradizione anarchica: in questo caso del sindacalismo rivoluzionario. La ISL puntava all’unità dei lavoratori, neri e bianchi, in un solo grande sindacato per abbattere il capitalismo e lo Stato, l’oppressione razziale e nazionalista, per mettere i posti di lavoro sotto il controllo diretto dei lavoratori.

Andrews aveva lavoratoRead More »